JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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Turkey blocked [Turkey Blocks press release] the website Wikipedia [official website] on Saturday deeming it a threat to national security. Opponents say Turkey's choice [Reuters report] to block the website further supports rights groups and Turkey's Western allies opinion that the country prohibits freedom of speech and other basic rights. Turkey supported its decision stating a law permits it to block access to individual web pages or entire websites for the protection of the order, national security, or general welfare....
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order [text] on Friday to lift restrictions placed on offshore oil drilling. According to a statement [press release], about 94 percent of the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) was either off-limits to or not considered for oil and gas exploration and development under previous rules. Trump blamed federal regulations for high unemployment in the state of Alaska, where oil and gas are a significant part of the economy, and said lifting restrictions would...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Thursday granted a request from the Trump administration to stay ligation concerning an Obama administration air pollution regulation. The rule in question, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) [EPA backgrounder], has been in place for numerous years and has many coal-fired power plants have already come into compliance with its terms. Many industry groups and 15 state prosecutors, included current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...
[JURIST] The Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) [official website, in French] in Senegal upheld [ruling, in French] the life sentence of Chad's former dictator Hissene Habre [HRW backgrounder] for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture. Habre was sentenced to life in prison for rape, various war crimes, and torture last year [Reuters report], however, his counsel appealed, believing that his sentence was too severe. On appeal, the EAC overturned his conviction for rape, however, it upheld his life sentence finding...
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ratified a law Thursday that will allow him to appoint head judges in the country's highest courts. The amended law, which was ratified [Youm7 report, in Arabic] when it was published in the official gazette [materials], allows el-Sisi to chose one of three potential judges nominated by each court to be the head of that court. Previously, leadership passed to the most senior member of the court, and the president was expected to sign off...
The Second Intermediate People's Court in Tianjin [official website] on Friday gave human rights lawyer Li Heping [advocacy profile] a three-year suspended sentence for subversion. He has been in jail since being detained in the summer of 2015. Heping represented many high-profile defendants including practitioners of the banned religion Falun Gong [oranization website]. His subversion conviction stemmed from a charge of endangering national security and social stability by working with religious groups and other lawyers to "attack" the government. The...
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice [official website] sued [complaint, PDF] the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] on Wednesday after the FDA banned a shipment [JURIST report] of lethal injection drugs to prison officials. Texas argued that the lethal injection drugs are lawful and comply with FDA standards, and that the FDA "erroneously concluded" that the drug violates 21 U.S.C. § 355(a) [text]. The ban applies to sodium thiopental and thiopental sodium, which Texas argues are the same...
The Texas State House of Representatives [official website] approved on Thursday a strict ban [SB 4, text] on so-called "sanctuary cities." The bill seeks to empower law enforcement [ABC report] to enforce federal immigration law against detainees and threatens to jail any police chiefs or sheriffs who refuse to follow federal law. The bill would allow the Texas government to withhold funding from local governments acting as sanctuary cities in order to help "keep the public safe and remove bad...
A French court on Thursday refused [BIRN report] an extradition request for former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj [BBC profile], who is facing war crime charges in Serbia. The court released [BBC report] Haradinaj shortly thereafter giving the parties five days to appeal. The Serbian government has stated the decision is unlawful and has recalled its ambassador in protest. Representatives of the former prime minister state that extradition would have led to an unfair and unbalanced trial. The request came...
The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgment, text] Wednesday that devices with pre-installed software that make it easier to stream pirated content may violate an European Union (EU) copyright protection directive [text, PDF]. The court determined that the sale of such multimedia players, often including popular so-called "streaming sticks," constitute a "communication to the public" that falls within the definition of the statute, which is prohibited. Because the purpose of the directive was to create a high level...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard arguments [day call, PDF] on Wednesday in Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. and Maslenjak v. United States [transcripts, PDF]. In Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the court is asked to determine how much patent protection should be afforded to drugs that are "biosimilar" to "biologics." Biologics are complex bio-engineered drugs, and when their patents expire generic drug companies are usually free to enter the market with the same drug. However,...
[JURIST] The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission [official website] on Tuesday released a report [text, PDF] in which they "unanimously recommend[ed] that the current moratorium on the death penalty [in Oklahoma] be extended." While the report noted that it was difficult to come to that decision, "[d]ue to the volume and seriousness of the flaws in Oklahoma's capital punishment system," it advised the moratorium should be extended until "significant reforms are accomplished." The report also included recommendations for reforms such...
[JURIST] US District Judge William Orrick from the Northern District of California [official profile] on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction [text, PDF] against Executive Order 13768, titled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States [text, PDF] which would have allowed the federal government to withhold funds from cities which have been designated as "sanctuary cities." In the ijunction, Orrick rejected the government's argument that it did not reach beyond the president's scope, saying "[t]he President has called...
Israel's Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked [official website] confirmed [Twitter post, in Hebrew] Tuesday that the country's Judicial Appointments Committee has approved the first female judge to a Muslim religious court. Both Jewish Rabbinical and Muslim Sharia courts hear marriage, divorce and other family law cases [Rabbinical jurisdiction law, PDF] for their given religion in the country. Jewish law explicitly forbids women from serving as judges on Jewish family courts, but no similar rule exists for their Muslim counterparts. Women's advocates...
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that tribal sovereign immunity does not extend to tribal employees acting in an individual capacity. Lewis v. Clarke [SCOTUSblog materials] arose when Brian and Michelle Lewis were injured in a car crash caused by William Clarke, an employee of the Mohegan Tribe [official website] who was driving a Mohegan Sun Casino limousine. Clarke argued that he was entitled to sovereign immunity and the lawsuit should be dismissed. The Supreme Court of...
The National Rifle Association (NRA) [official website] on Monday filed the first complaint [text, PDF] in a planned series of challenges [NRA -ILA press release] to new California gun control laws put in place following the San Bernardino attack [LA Times backgrounder]. The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California Southern Division [official website]. Some experts doubt [LA Times report] that the legal challenges will prevail as the laws are "limiting gun use,...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two civil procedure cases: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, and BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell [dockets]. Bristol-Myers Squibb [SCOTUSblog materials] focuses on whether plaintiffs may sue in a state that has no particular connection to them, but has significant connection to the defendant. The plaintiffs range from 33 states, but the action is taking place solely in California....
The NAACP [advocacy website] on Monday announced a lawsuit [press release] against the state of Georgia, claiming that state's 2015 voter redistricting was discriminatory. The group claims [US News report] that lawmakers redrew voting district lines for political gain at the expense of minority voters. The complaint asks that a three-judge panel review the redistricting and order the lawmakers to re-draw the districts in question. Furthermore, the NAACP has asked that no elections be held using the changed district lines....
The Canadian Province of Ontario [official website] announced Monday that it will begin a trial program for universal basic income [press release] this summer. The Ontario government said [Guardian report] that it will test the policy on roughly 4,000 participants. Participants for the three-year program will be selected from a randomly selected mailing invite for individuals between the ages of 18 and 64. The program will be aimed at individuals on social assistance, in low paying jobs, or in positions...
Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee [official profile] on Monday approved the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill [text, PDF]. The law is intended to prevent discrimination against individuals with HIV and AIDS, and makes it a fine-able offense to disclose the HIV-positive status of an individual against his or her will. These protections extend to employment, service accommodations, property rentals, and insurance. Further, the act requires that informed consent be obtained before any HIV...

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